Monday, November 16, 2015

Q&A with Outlander Screenwriter Richard Kahan

By Outlander Central

It was our distinct pleasure to do a quick Q and A with Outlander Assistant Writer, Richard Kahan, who recently let all of his fans on Twitter in on some big news:  that he’s written one of the episodes for Season Two!  We’re so excited for him and can’t wait to see it!  Here’s a little taste of what it’s like to write for an enormously popular and critically-acclaimed show…

OLC:  How did you find out you were going to be writing a script for Outlander Season 2? 

RK:  Being on the show from the beginning, I’ve worked really closely with the writers/producers, which gave me the opportunity to prove myself: my work ethic, my abilities, and my commitment to the show.  All of them have been very supportive, and were behind me eventually writing my own episode, when the time was right.  Ira Steven Behr, as my long-time friend and mentor, has been a huge champion of my writing.  Matt Roberts and Maril Davis were instrumental in having me write a script, which was incredibly generous of them.  But all the writers/producers were behind it, which speaks to how supportive this group is.  Ultimately, as showrunner, the decision is Ron Moore’s to make – he pulled me aside and told me it was his distinct privilege to be the one to give me my first script.  That was a huge vote of confidence, and I will forever be in his debt for making that dream a reality.  

OLC:  Have you ever done an adaptation of book to screenplay/teleplay before this? 

RK:  Adaptation has actually been a big part of my writing so far.  The last 3 years on Outlander has been a master class in adaptation, getting to learn from these writers.  Before Outlander, I adapted a short story into a short film, and worked for Ira Steven Behr on a few adaptations he was both developing and writing.  I have a friend/producer who has just optioned a book, and he’s reached out to me about potentially adapting it.  I’m also currently pursuing the rights to a book I’d like to adapt – so yeah, lots of adaptation so far, which has been great!

OLC:  Do you feel your acting experience was a big help in being able to adapt the book to the screen?

RK:   I think my past as an actor is extremely helpful in my writing – I write what I’d want to play.  As an actor, script analysis is key; breaking down each scene to see what your character wants, how they’re going to get that, and what your relationship is to the other people in the scene.  So I really try to write scenes from that place - characters connecting, and finding the emotional truth as well as the stakes.  

OLC:  Can you describe your feelings when you found out Herself approved your work?  How did you find out? Tweet,  phone call, email? 

RK:  I first found out Diana was happy with my script after she had read one of the first drafts.  We were emailing about something else, and she mentioned casually that she loved the script.  Obviously that was anything but a casual mention for me!  I was thrilled to hear that, it means a lot to have her approval, and the fact that she’s been so positive and supportive throughout means the world to me.

And we all loved reading about it on Twitter as well!...

Richard, thank you so much for taking the time to do this for all of us.  We wish you nothing but the best on Outlander and in all of your other current and future projects.  Now go write your Emmy acceptance speech and get fitted for your kilt, man!

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